MoonStar has been making shoes in Kurume, on Japan’s southern Kyushu island, since 1873. The company originated as a manufacturer of traditional tabi – ankle-length socks with a separated big toe, typically worn with thonged footwear.
Moonstar creates minimal and functional footwear, hand-produced by highly skilled craftspeople in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. Kurume has long been recognized as a center of Japan’s rubber industry, famed for the production of tires and jika-tabi – rubber-soled work boots featuring a split toe.
For almost 150 years, the company has continued to develop innovative solutions for contemporary footwear, with uncompromising attention to form, function, and tradition.
The MoonStar brand is praised for its ‘Shoes Like Pottery’ series, a collection of trainers crafted using a rare manufacturing technique called ka-Ryu. The shoes are produced from carefully chosen high-quality materials and assembled by skilled craftsmen whose handiwork cannot be replicated by a machine
the origin of MoonStar shoes
MoonStar has been making shoes in Kurume, on Japan’s southern Kyushu island, since the year 1873. The company started under the name Tsuchiya Tabi as a manufacturer of tabi – Japanese-style socks with a split toe. They later went into the production of jika-tabi, split-toe shoes with a rubber sole. Initially, production was limited to two to three shoes per day to ensure each one was of high quality. Still worn today by most farmers and workmen, MoonStar footwear, with its skilled hand finishing, has become one of Japan’s most well-loved shoe brands.
how MoonStar shoes are made
The process for making MoonStar shoes first begins with them only selecting the highest quality materials. Skilled craftsmen then cut and sew the separate materials together, with each pair completed mostly by hand. A rubber adhesive is used to bind the sole to the upper, molding the shape of the shoe to create something that is especially resilient and flexible at the same time.
how they achieve the pottery-like shoes
when the shows are fully assembled, the next stage of the process is called ‘vulcanization’. MoonStar shoe brands are often referred to as ‘shoes like pottery’. The reason for this is each pair of shoes is fired, just like ceramics, in a 120-degree kiln for about an hour. As each shoe goes through exposure to extreme heat, the sulfur inside the raw rubber undergoes a chemical reaction. This process of vulcanization, or ka-Ryu in Japanese, improves the strength and flexibility of the rubber, creating durable shoes that are ready for all weather.
when the shows are not undergoing vulcanization which they usually do, each MoonStar shoe is treated to a direct injection process, where molten material is injected into a shoe-shaped mold. The process is used to form the sole and connects it with the upper panels at the same time. The effect of this process, which began production in 1966, is to create an excellent fit and softer cushioning.
about the company house in japan
MoonStar footwear comes in a range of varieties, from children’s gym shoes to all-weather shoes for adults, boots for outdoor workers, and minimal and stylish gym court shoes. The Shop at Japan House has different styles available in a range of colors and sizes: bumper court, gym classic, gym court, and all-weather shoes
In 2020 they release of their limited edition shoes using “Kurume Kasuri” method of splash dyeing, which has been handed down to the generations at MoonStar, has become a hot topic. They have a lineup of two unique models that are special to the brand and shows how they value tradition.
This model has roots in the training shoes produced by Moonstar in the 1960s. Kurume Kasuri cloth, which was invented in the latter half of the Edo period and is still woven in the traditional method passed down over the generations, is used for the upper.
Using an old-style traditional loom, the fabric is woven with tension that does not force the threads to have a unique texture so it remains supple, and this makes it feel more comfortable to wear.
MoonStar is a well-established shoe manufacturer that has been in business for 145 years. Their head office and self-managed factory are located in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, and they specialize in making sneakers that pay special attention to the method of vulcanized manufacturing.
Visit the company’s site for more information and videos about how MOONSTAR sneakers are made.
Below are some FAQs
when did MoonStar start production?
MoonStar has been making shoes in Kurume, on Japan’s southern Kyushu island, since 1873.